As the United States seeks to outpace China in the Indo-Pacific, the Air Force is researching the development of a new radar station in Palau that will close surveillance gaps for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command theater, according to the service's fiscal year 2023 budget justification documents.
The radar station, called the Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar, or TACMOR, will transmit high-frequency, over-the-horizon flight information using a high frequency sounder antenna and backscatter sounder. Work on TACMOR expands upon modeling and simulation that was conducted for up to four potential over-the-horizon radar sites in the continental U.S. in the FY-22 budget. It also complements another air and maritime domain awareness radar station in Palau that was announced in 2017.
Data collected by TACMOR will be transmitted to a secure, undisclosed receiver site, which can then be sent to an offsite operations control center. Real-time target tracking and extraction information can be used by the control center to support combatant command missions and can also be accessed by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center for post-event analysis, the justification documents say.
The Air Force is seeking $12.2 million in FY-23 and $5.1 million in FY-24 for the initiative. The service anticipates a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with multiple task orders will be awarded competitively.
The system will be production-ready after the completion of a military utility assessment and system-level production readiness review, according to the justification documents.